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What Is Dexos Oil?

dexos-oil-01-engine.jpg Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Dexos is a synthetic oil developed by GM that is recommended for all 2011 and newer GM vehicles.

Related: Oil Changes: What You Need to Know

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GM claims that Dexos — marketed and spelled with a lowercase “d,” as in, dexos — keeps engines cleaner, reduces sludge, improves fuel economy and reduces engine wear because it flows easier than other oils, and it can help emissions components last longer.

Because GM vehicles come with an oil-life monitor that calculates oil-change intervals based on the number of cold starts, how the engine is driven and other factors, the automaker does not recommend oil changes based on the number of miles alone.

When GM says Dexos is “recommended” for 2011 and newer GM vehicles, it means that if you don’t use Dexos, or a synthetic oil that meets Dexos specifications, your warranty could be voided if your engine suffers oil-related damage.

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Several companies, including major engine oil brands, sell synthetics that are approved and licensed by GM. That means vehicle owners have other options for oil changes besides GM dealers and the AC Delco brand of Dexos. Some other brands that aren’t licensed by GM and can’t use the Dexos logo for their oils also claim that they meet Dexos specifications.

Dexos1 is engineered for gasoline engines. Dexos2 and the recently introduced DexosD are for diesel engines.

GM says Dexos oils can be used in vehicles manufactured by other companies and in pre-2011 GM vehicles. With other vehicle brands, though, it pays to check if they require specific types of oils the same as GM does.

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